The University of Arizona

Mortuary Variability and Community Reorganization in the Early-To-Late Natufian Transition

Vincent M. LaMotta


This paper examines community reorganization in the Late Natufian period with reference to a general ecological model that links changes in resource scarcity with social reorganization. This model explains why community reorganization should occur in times of subsistence stress, and provides a basis for generating multiple competing hypotheses to explain the nature of that transformation. One hypothesis, that Natufian communities responded to subsistence stress by centralizing land tenure, intensifying subsistence production, and redistributing subsistence goods, is not supported. An alternative hypothesis, that an unequal distribution of land within Natufian communities allowed some segments of the population to endure subsistence stress while forcing others to migrate to more marginal areas, explains more variability in the archaeological record, and withstands preliminary testing with multiple lines of archaeological evidence.


mortuary behavior, Natufian culture, community organization

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